These are challenging times both personally and professionally, and we are all doing our best to adjust to our current situation. We remain optimistic in our Company’s ability to weather the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Yet, tough decisions must be made to protect both the safety of our associates, our customers, and the future of JCPenney.
We have extended our planned reopening beyond April 2 as this health crisis continues. The peak of the virus in the United States is yet to come, and we are unable to determine a reopening date that will be safe for our associates, customers, and communities.
With our stores, business offices, and supply chain facilities temporarily closed for an undetermined period of time, we have made the extremely difficult decision to temporarily furlough a significant portion of our store and corporate associates, beginning in early April. Associates across our supply chain and logistic centers were previously furloughed effective March 20, and those furloughs will continue past April 1.
Our intent is to welcome associates back to work when the pandemic subsides and our operations resume. All furloughed associates who are currently enrolled in the JCPenney benefits program will continue to receive full health benefits, and the Company plans to cover 100 percent of employee-paid premiums for the duration of the furlough. Many impacted associates may also be eligible to receive expanded unemployment benefits under the federal stimulus bill.
Right now, we are making rapid, prudent decisions to continue the long legacy of JCPenney. At the same time, we are making some of our toughest decisions with heavy hearts because they directly affect our valued associates and their families. Prior to considering temporary furloughs, we first:
- Drew down our line of credit to preserve financial flexibility
- Paused hiring and cut spending
- Suspended merit increases for 2020
- Deferred capital spending
- Reduced receipts
- Extended payment terms
- Evaluated other financing options, which is ongoing
Our eCommerce distribution centers and customer care will remain open, fulfilling online orders and answering customer inquiries. We remain committed to delivering an inspiring, shared experience through our flagship store, jcp.com, where customers can continue to shop for essentials needed during this time, browse extended categories that are not offered in our stores, and receive free shipping for orders of $49 or more.
These are difficult days across the globe, and we are all craving certainty right now. We believe the collective talents and passions of our associates will fuel our future, just as they always have at JCPenney.
Our hope is that this pandemic subsides swiftly and we look forward to the day when we reopen our doors and welcome back our valued associates and customers.
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